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Arrangements on the Remains of Giant Panda Jia Jia

2016-11-02

Ocean Park announced today that the remains of Jia Jia, the world’s oldest giant panda who passed away on 16 October, will be used for scientific research, veterinary science education and conservation purposes.
                                                                                                                                             
Ocean Park, in conjunction with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas in Wolong (Wolong), has decided to preserve and conserve Jia Jia’s biological samples for histopathology research, and retain her skeleton, including the skull and teeth, for veterinary science education and research. Jia Jia’s fur will also be retained and preserved to facilitate the raising of newborn panda cubs in the future. The remaining body parts will be cremated by incineration, and her treated cremated ashes would be planted with a memorial tree next to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures where Jia Jia used to reside.
 
Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director, Zoological Operations and Education of Ocean Park, said, “Over the past 17 years, Jia Jia has played an important role as one of our animal ambassadors that supported the Park’s mission to inspire and educate the public on the importance of protecting and conserving the giant panda species. We would like to thank the HKSAR government and Wolong for their advice regarding the arrangements for Jia Jia’s remains, and we are grateful that Jia Jia can continue to contribute to research, education and conservation.”
 
Dr. Wang Chengdong, Director of Veterinary Service of Wolong, said, “We recommended that Jia Jia’s fur be preserved to assist the raising of newborn panda cubs in the future. The fur would be placed inside incubators to keep the newborns warm, and familiarise them with the fur of an adult panda as they are unable to crawl and see during the first two months after birth. In addition, it would help familiarise the cub with the panda fur when we reintroduce the cub to its mother.”
               
To commemorate Jia Jia’s celebrated life, a memorial corner has been established outside the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures to enable guests to learn about Jia Jia’s life at Ocean Park, her legacy, and appreciate her contributions to conservation for the species. Guests can also pay tribute to the giant panda by leaving a message in the memorial book, and placing flowers in front of the memorial panel. A memorial video, with words from her caretakers, has also been uploaded to the Ocean Park YouTube Channel to honour Jia Jia’s life at Ocean Park.   
The giant panda is listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and is protected under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap.586) of HKSAR. Whilst the species has recently been downlisted from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable” on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a result of worldwide collective efforts to save and revive the population of giant pandas, giant pandas and their habitats are still in need of protection to ensure that they do not become endangered again.